One player that has been getting some attention as a potential first round selection by the Arizona Cardinals, at least by fans, is Ohio State linebacker Ryan Shazier. He has shown speed, pass rushing ability and coverage skills. He has versatility in that he could play inside or outside linebacker.
However, NFL Network's Mike Mayock was asked about Shazier as a potential pick for the Cardinals on his conference call earlier in the week, and he downplayed his fit on the team.
"Shazier is the prototypical 4-3 will," he explained. "Shazier, if he was going to be an Arizona Cardinal, he would have to play the will inside linebacker position. They already have a tremendous one in Daryl Washington. I don't think he's a fit."
Arizona general manager Steve Keim has implied that Shazier would be a better fit inside, comparing him physically to Patrick Willis.
Keim has good things to say about Shazier. "He's got a natural rush ability or play inside," he told reporters on Wednesday. "His production speaks for itself, 143 tackles & six sacks. That's amazing."
With Washington and Kevin Minter already inside, Shazier could have a role, even in Year 1. Minter's ability to play in coverage is yet to be seen. Arizona goes 2-4-5 in nickel schemes. It would seem, at least on paper, that Shazier could replace Minter in nickel packages, playing alongside Washington, giving flexibility with what they could do. They could use either one in coverage or even in an inside blitz. He would not likely be a starter, and he might be a little slight to play outside.
Keim has good things to say. Mayock doesn't think he is a fit here. What do you think?
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